Chengdu rockers Proximity Butterfly are in Nanjing tonight at the Noise Booster bar, the third show of their countrywide "Pig Tour." So far, the butterflies have unleashed their musical epics on this month's Mianyang Music Festival with fellow Chengduers Mosaic as well as at the Xichang Fire Festival.
Recognizable as much by their dread locks as by their tour entourage, which sometimes includes additional instrumentalists, friends, and even their much-adored Cocker Spaniel Umbrella, the trio has had a new addition to the family in Aetheria Love, the front-couple's one-year-old daughter, who is accompanying the band on tour.
They filled us in via e-mail on how the tour's progressing so far, 30-hour train rides with a baby, and their favorite venues to play.
Is there a specific goal for this tour?
To show the country that we're back on the map and as busy as ever. Being gone for a year getting the baby in order is a long time. We are now testing new songs and feeling them out. Touching up the edges and seeing what rocks on a live setting.
How were the two Sichuan shows?
The Mianyang festival was something the city doesn't often get to have. But sure enough there were butterflies there waiting for us welcoming the baby and keeping the vibe alive. It's always beautiful going to smaller cities and being able to share that kind of colorful fury with a few thousand kids aching to jump around. Xichang was pretty awesome. The crowd was so into the music and so exciting that it made the show exactly what a show should be. The size is small, but the punch on the other hand is very hard.
You've played in some of these venues before. Does it feel different playing the second or third time in a city or venue compared to the first?
The first two to three tours are always the hardest because you might play to a room of people expecting Radiohead or Carsick Cars, and they just want to get drunk and get laid. The next tour there are twice as many people. By now people know what to expect and it attracts the kinds of folk who listen carefully ... it really is an awesome feeling, especially when people are singing along.
Who's opening for you on this tour?
Local bands, mostly bands we haven't heard of. But in Beijing, we play with The Scoff and a ton of others we've played with before. We all like each other's music so it gives the overall show a very bouncy feel, like a celebration.
Which gig are you most looking forward to? Why?
D-22 and Mao Live. D-22 rocks because the people rock so hard, and Mao Live does the sound so well it sounds like you're in outer space. I've never heard any festival or club sound that good. Also the Vox Bar is going to be a super highlight. Wuhan has been with us from the beginning.
Are you able to make any money touring or does entrance just cover costs?
We make enough money to not have to worry about eating or a place to stay. We sell more albums now than before and all of that goes into helping us get our next album out. It's good organization at this point ... the first two tours rip you open, and then it gets better and better.
Are you still living a rock 'n' roll lifestyle now with the little one? What do you do during down time on the tour?
We just have a couple beers and head back to the pad and prepare for the next coming shows by reading and telling jokes to each other. Last night we watched some movies and laughed until we fell asleep ... good times.
Why is it called the pig tour?
The idea of a pig head is fun. This emotionless emotion staring at you. Severed pig heads often look like they're laughing or smiling, but their time is over, done. They're a kind of mixed emotion. And of course it's a play on the idea that people are pig-headed, they don't listen to any kind of reason and would gnaw off their own limbs for some kind of false comfort.
August 29, 8 p.m. @ Noise Booster
September 12, 9 p.m. @ Vox Bar
September 12, 10 p.m. @ D-22
September 15, 10 p.m. @ Yugong Yishan
September 17, 8 p.m. @ Mao Live
September 18, 10 p.m. @ Dos Kolegas
October (date and time TBA)